Fausto’s First Grocery Store Opens in 1926
As seen in Go To Sea Key West Magazine December 1939
When Faustino Castillo came from Havana, in 1910, to become one of hundreds of cigar workers in Key West, he had not the slightest idea that he would later become one of the leading grocers of this little coral island. But such is the fact regarding this genial gentleman.
For eighty-five years "Fausto" has been helping to supply groceries for Key West tables. Like many other successful men in the business world, Fausto began on a small scale. His first grocery store was opened in 1926 at Packer and Virginia streets in a little building that had been a house. As business grew he was required to remodel and enlarge the store. This growth continued for eleven years until such a time that Fausto could no longer "stretch" his building to meet his needs. In August, 1936, he took over the ground floor of a large house at 600 Fleming Street and converted it into an attractive store. This downtown place was what Fausto had always wanted. Now he was near the center of the business district. His store was handy, parking was plentiful, and he had room to display his wares.
Proudly he served various customers who come to his place for their daily food. Writers, artists, housewives, husbands, children, natives and visitors - all find courtesy and a wide selection of groceries at Fausto's. Specializing in fancy foods, he sends to Cuba for tropical fruits, to the far-flung markets of the world for the finest cheeses, to New York for other delicacies. Also from Cuba come special jellies, preserves and marmalades. The northern visitor finds the everyday tropical fruits in his store strange and exciting - and very fascinating. In season, Fausto sells such delicious fruits as the soursop, sapodilla, mango, plantain, pineapple, sugar apple, avocado, Jamaica apple, papaya, pomegranate and tamarind.
Faustino Castillo was born in Havana, Cuba, November 29, 1888. He attended private school in that city. Following the completion of his studies he was employed in Havana by the cigar industry. Coming to Key West in 1910, he continued here with the same industry until he entered the grocery business. Mr. Castillo married Miss Ana Luisa Alvarez, a Key West girl, and they have one daughter, Ana Luisa. Mr. Castillo is Vice-president of the Order of Caballero de la Luz, a Mason and a member of the Elks.
Fausto’s still seeks to meet the needs of every palate.
By Henry Woods 2001
Ten-year old Jimmy Weekley made his weekly allowance sacking potatoes and onions back in 1957 at Fausto's. Today, Jimmy is the third generation to oversee what are now two Fausto's locations in Key West. A neighborhood institution that celebrated its eighty-fifth anniversary in 2011.
In 1926, Cuban-born cigar roller Fausto Castillo opened a neighborhood store at Virginia and Packer Streets. Initially, Fausto split his time between his shifts at the cigar factory and running his store with his wife, Ana Luisa. They kept the store open until nine pm on Saturdays and sold various cheeses and meats in five-cent increments. This was also where they raised their daughter who was named for her mother, Ana. Ana remembered Fausto her father as being consumed with keeping up with new grocery items, a passion that still exists at Fausto's today. The store moved to the corner of Simonton Street and Fleming Street in 1939. It was there that Ana met future husband Carl Weekley.
In 1949, they moved to the current Fleming Street location. A fire burned that building down in 1966 and a new store was reopened at the site in 1967. Carl, already a meat cutter of many years, taught son, Jimmy, the meat-cutting business. Then the White Street store was acquired in the early 1980s. Like his grandfather, Jimmy is always on the lookout for new items and began stocking gourmet foods and specialty items in the stores. Today, Fausto's has the feel of a Dean and Deluca, D'Agostino's, Sutton Place or any other of a number of gourmet markets in large metropolitan areas around the country.
Jimmy Weekley, who is also Key West's mayor, tries to keep up with the tastes of customers. The shrimpers and Navy personnel of the 1970s have given way to locals, tourists and winter residents who bring their particular tastes from other parts of the country when they come to the southernmost city in the United States. Those tastes include a yen for sushi, organic-fed beef, pork, and chicken and an array of the finest wines.
Past customers have included the likes of President Harry S Truman, Tennessee Williams and Jimmy Buffett. Today's Fausto's customer will find the same smiles and desire to serve from a staff that seeks to meet the needs of every palate.
Open seven days a week, Fausto's is still going strong after eighty-nine years. The small neighborhood store has grown to be the longest family-owned businesses in the Florida Keys. Stop in today at the Fleming Street or White Street locations.